latest DVD release, Holy Spirit, part of the BASIC series, Francis Chan challenges
the church to allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Here he discusses this oftentimes misunderstood and sometimes dividing topic.
wrote a book in 2009 on the Holy Spirit called The Forgotten God. Now you
have a film from the BASIC series on the Holy Spirit. Why all of this emphasis on the Holy Spirit?
A: I received a lot
of questions about why I titled the book The Forgotten God. Some thought it was is a bit extreme. I
don’t think so. From my perspective, the Holy Spirit is tragically neglected
and, for all practical purposes, forgotten. That’s why I have a book and a film
on the subject. While no evangelical would
deny His existence, I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across
America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His presence or action
in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can.
Q: Don’t most Christians already know about
the Holy Spirit?
denominations have been built around specific beliefs about the Holy Spirit. I
know people who have lost jobs at churches and Christian colleges because of
their beliefs about the Holy Spirit. I even had a girl break up with me while I
was in seminary because we believed differently about Him! It is not one of
those issues that is easy to float over. This is especially true if you belong
to a particular “camp” with a specific belief or bent.
Q: What does it mean to “quench” the Spirit?
probably familiar with God’s command in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench
the Spirit.” Do you know what it means? For years I never gave it much thought.
I didn’t take the time to explore what this meant and how I could be guilty of
Q: How can you tell if a Christian gathering
is empowered by the Holy Spirit?
I leave Christian events wondering if we resemble the prophets of Baal in 1
Kings 18 more than Elijah. The prophets of Baal had a loud, passionate worship
gathering that lasted from morning till evening. When they were done, they had
a great time of fellowship (I think you can call it that). But “no one
answered; no one paid attention” (1 Kin. 18:29). After all of that, Elijah
prayed. God heard his prayer, and fire came down from heaven.
My favorite part of that story
comes when it is all over and the prophets of Baal are saying, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kin. 18:39, NIV). They didn’t say, “Elijah is a great speaker” or “Elijah
sure knows how to connect with God!” They were stunned by God. They were in awe of His power. They knew that what they
experienced could not have been manipulated by Elijah. They experienced the
power of God.
Is that what happens at the
Christian gatherings you attend? Or does it feel more like what the prophets of
Baal experienced before Elijah prayed? We can have a great time singing and
dancing ourselves into a frenzy. But at the end of it, fire doesn’t come down
from heaven. People leave talking about the people who led rather than the
power of God.
Q: What if the Holy Spirit calls me to radical, bold living? My Christian friends will think I’m crazy!
A: My hope
and prayer for you is that church people don’t try to normalize you. What I
mean is that in American churches we often try to calm people down who are just
too passionate or too sacrificial and radical. I know at times I have done this
to other people. And I’ve had it done to me.
Q: How has the Holy Spirit called your family
to live more boldly?
A: My wife
and I recently decided to give all of the royalties from my previous book, Crazy Love, to a fund called the Isaiah
58 Fund. All of the money goes to the needy in the world—the starving, sick,
impoverished, and to those in the sex slave trade. We reasoned that if we kept
all this money, we would end up spending it on things we didn’t need. We knew
that in the long run (80 years from now), there would be no regrets. But if we
bought things that wouldn’t last beyond our time on earth, we would end up
disappointed and regretful. I was a bit shocked and discouraged by some of the
responses we received.
here to purchase this DVD.